Category Archives: Campus News

PAW Goes to the Movies: ‘Steve Jobs,’ with Professor Michael Littman

Professor Michael Littman, left, with PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83, says that Steve Jobs was a skilled designer, as well as a master of marketing. (Beverly Schaefer)

Professor Michael Littman, left, with PAW senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83, says that Steve Jobs “was a visionary salesman, and he had an artist’s eye for design.” (Beverly Schaefer)

When the history of our time is written, will Steve Jobs be remembered as one of the world’s great innovators? The Apple co-founder and CEO, who died in 2011, is the subject of a new movie, aptly titled Steve Jobs, which focuses on the rollout of three of his most significant products: the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. The film, which was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, stars Michael Fassbender as Jobs and Kate Winslet as Jobs’s longtime marketing assistant, Joanna Hoffman.

In another installment of our periodic series, PAW Goes to the Movies, senior writer Mark F. Bernstein ’83 invited Michael Littman, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, to evaluate Jobs the movie and Jobs the man. Littman teaches a class, “Engineering in the Modern World,” that includes study of Jobs, Bill Gates, and the development of the personal computer. He also teaches a course on automation in which students design the equivalent to the original Apple I computer.

moviesMFB: This was a movie written and directed by non-engineers. Did they get the science right?

ML: I think they got it right. If I were to give it a grade technically, I would give it high marks.

MFB: Was there anything you didn’t like?

ML: The movie presented Jobs as a very skilled marketer, but I don’t think it emphasized his skills as a designer enough. Jobs developed the Graphical User Interface for the Macintosh, and it changed the face of computing. That technology was basically pirated from Xerox. Xerox could have developed it, but they didn’t have the business skill to recognize what they had. So what if Jobs stole it? He was the one who introduced it to society. Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but he was the one who developed it. Continue reading

Summer Points Pay Off at the Charles for Men’s Lightweight Crew

On Oct. 18, the men’s lightweight crew team finished as the top collegiate squad at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston for the third consecutive year. Captain Isaiah Brown ’16 views a large part of the team’s success as attributable to “Summer Points,” a system of training incentives that Brown credits for making the lightweight Tigers “one of the fittest teams out there.”

What exactly does this system entail?

“Different workouts are worth different amounts of points — the goal is to average an hour of cardio per day, but you can run, row, bike, erg, or lift, and these different activities get you points based on the quantity and intensity,” Brown said. “There are multiples for doing a race, working out with a teammate, working out at a different altitude.”

The team keeps track of everything in a Google document viewable by all rowers. The goal for the roughly 100-day long summer break was to average 1,000 points per day; 100,000 points also happened to be a requirement to be in contention for a boat at the Charles. Continue reading

Deaton Wins Economics Nobel, Addresses Colleagues and Reporters at Richardson

Angus Deaton, a professor of economics and international affairs, joined the Princeton faculty in 1983. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Angus Deaton, a professor of economics and international affairs, joined the Princeton faculty in 1983. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Angus Deaton, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs and a professor of economics and international affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences on Oct. 12.

Deaton, who has taught at Princeton since 1983, received the award in recognition of his groundbreaking work studying the ways in which the economic behavior of individuals influences broader economic patterns. Unlike many economists, he has relied on surveys of individual households rather than national economic statistics, to gain deeper insights into the factors driving economic development. Continue reading

Faculty Members Assess the Iran Nuclear Deal

On July 14, the United States and five other nations announced an agreement with Iran to limit Iran’s development of nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting international sanctions. The agreement has already generated considerable controversy. Israel and some in the United States have been sharply critical, while President Obama and others have defended it. Congress has until mid-September to review the agreement.

PAW asked several faculty members for their assessments of the agreement. Is this a good deal? A bad deal? A missed opportunity? The best that could be hoped for under the circumstances? We present their conclusions below.

Daniel Kurtzer (Frank Wojciechowski)

Daniel Kurtzer (Frank Wojciechowski)

Daniel Kurtzer, S. Daniel Abraham Visiting Professor in Middle East Policy Studies and former U.S. ambassador to Egypt (1997-2001) and Israel (2001-2005)

As a nonproliferation agreement, the agreement is quite strong. It blocks several pathways Iran had been employing to potentially reach a nuclear capability. It sets a severe limit on the amount of enriched uranium that can remain in the country. And it limits the number of centrifuges Iran is permitted to keep.

There are three issues that matter most. One, to what extent can inspectors catch Iran should it cheat? That is an open question. Two, what happens if we catch them cheating? This goes to the will of the administration to take action. Will the president of the United States hold Iran to a very high standard, or will he accept some ambiguity in their behavior? Third, will Iran come clean on its previous nuclear program? This is part of a separate agreement Iran has made with the International Atomic Energy Agency. If Iran doesn’t report things that we know they have been doing, that would be another violation.

Would we have been better off holding on to sanctions and squeezing Iran harder until it capitulated and abandoned its nuclear program altogether? That is unrealistic. Most experts believe that the sanctions were not going to be effective for much longer. Russia and China certainly would have backed away from them if the United States had walked away from negotiations.

Some have asked why we did not include all of Iran’s other bad behavior in the deal. The explanation comes down to tactics. The administration made a choice to isolate the nuclear issue from all the others. We know Iran is doing other bad things in the region, such as backing Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, but the administration believes that we are in a stronger position to address those problems if Iran is not also developing a nuclear capability.

David Menashri, visiting fellow at Princeton; founding director of the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University

The Iranians made a pragmatic decision to make some concessions on the nuclear issue in order to get relief from the sanctions. The end result is that those who wanted just to delay the Iranian nuclear program can be satisfied.

Still, I would say the Iranians won. Two years ago, the Iranians were desperate. The international sanctions were ruining their economy, and the currency lost much of its value. Unemployment was high and so was inflation. Their regional allies (Syria, Hizballah, Iraqi government) were in trouble. Disillusionment and disenchantment were mounting. So the Iranian government realized that they needed to make some concessions on the nuclear front to achieve their other interests. Continue reading

Names in the News: Berlin ’07 on Lunch Ladies and Admissions; Berlind ’52’s Tony Winners; More

Lev Berlin ’07 (Courtesy Lev Berlin)

Lev Berlin ’07 (Courtesy Lev Berlin)

Can a high-school lunch lady help you get into Princeton? Maybe, LEV BERLIN ’07 wrote in an essay for — or maybe not. It’s not clear whether a phone call from his lunch lady to a prominent alumnus helped his application, but in any case, Berlin advises, “Be nice to your lunch ladies, people.”

Broadway producer ROGER BERLIND ’52’s string of hits continues. Berlind co-produced two of the 2015 Tony Award winners: Best Play honoree The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Skylight, which won in the Best Revival of a Play category.

Author and professor RUTH BEHAR *83 has joined with poet and fellow Cuban-American Richard Blanco to launch a new writing project called “Bridges to/from Cuba,” which aims to give Cubans a forum for sharing their hopes for the future of U.S.-Cuba relations. Behar, who moved from Cuba to New York City at age 5, is the author of Traveling Heavy: A Memoir in Between Journeys. Continue reading

Names in the News: Taub ’14 Explores ISIS Recruiting; Gowin Exhibit at The Morgan

BEN TAUB ’14 wrote “Journey to Jihad,” the lead story in the June 1 issue of The New Yorker on European teenagers who join ISIS. Taub used money he received as a contestant on The Voice to fund reporting trips to the Turkish-Syrian border, he said in an MSNBC interview.

Influential photographer and emeritus professor EMMET GOWIN’s work is featured in a new exhibit, “Hidden Likeness,” at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City through Sept. 20. Peggy Fogelman, the Morgan’s acting director, said that Gowin’s art has “creative and often surprising linkages with Morgan objects of widely different eras and artistic disciplines.” Continue reading